Is Your CV Only Fit To Line the Bin?

Why is a CV important?

Unless you have spent a good amount of time creating such a wonderful CV, that your potential employer just gives you the job, it’s very likely that you’ve not done much with your CV for some time. What’s that you say? It’s not possible? Check out this guy who was given a job without an interview.
Let’s face it, most of us will not be in a position to do what that guy did. So let start with what your CV needs to be able to do. Most people think that it should contain every ounce of detail about their work history (or education if you are not in employment yet) so that it alone will secure the job. That’s not so. You only secure the job during the interview process.

Short Listing

Typically, employer’s short list 5-10 candidates for the interview stage, so the objective of your CV is simple – get you past the first hurdle to secure an interview. As the number of candidates can number hundreds or even thousands, your CV and covering letter have to stand out from the large crowd. Imagine sifting through CV after CV and they all look the same. You can see that a generic CV will not cut the mustard, if you are really serious about landing that perfect job. The reality is that the majority of employers and/or recruiters do not read in full the many CV’s which cross their desk every day. Dull generic CV’s are dull and boring and will only be consigned to the rubbish bin.
No two employers or two jobs are identical, so don’t expect a generic CV to work. The secret is to standout, but still be professional. So don’t put picture of you in swim wear in your CV, unless you are applying for a swim wear modelling job. You will certainly standout, but not for the right reasons. So what can you do to tailor you CV to fit the post you are applying for? Here are some tips that you may find useful….

Research is the key

Read the job description several times and use a marker pen to highlight any key words that the employer has used. Next distil the keywords into a list of the five to six important key topics that you consider are required for the role. Also, study the company website and any publications and again note five to six key words. Use this research to understand the mind-set of the target employer and job requirements.

‘Sex-up’ your CV

By all means start with a template as this will help you structure your experience and information in to an easy to understand format. To this basic content you can ‘sex-up’ your CV using the key words and employer mind set unearthed from your research. Use the key words to demonstrate to the reader how your previous experience and qualifications are a perfect match to the job advert and employer profile. Don’t be scared to leave out previous experience which does not match the job. An unmatched CV profile will only frustrate the reader and lead to the dreaded CV bin.

Genuine Interest

Employers receive so many ‘bland CV’s’, so use the opportunity to show real and demonstrable interest in the job and company. A couple of ‘attentive comments’ within your CV can make all the difference to ‘interview or rubbish bin’. For example, link some of your experience to a recent new product launch from the target company.

Friendly advice

Never be scared to ask for friendly constructive and impartial advice. Send a copy of the job description and your tailored CV to trusted friends and associates and ask for constructive advice. Rather a friend exposes an issue, which can then be simply addressed vs a potential employer, as your CV will simply be rejected.

What CV version

A serious job-hunter may have in excess of 100 tailored CV’s, so always remember to take along the correct version to your interview. If you are seen with a CV version which does not match the version you sent, you are likely to be toast.

Finally, never lie and never die

Whilst it may be a great temptation to ‘inflate’ your CV, never, never lie, as the consequences are generally not worth the risk. Job hunting can be a tough and frustrating business so be mentality prepared for rejection. Learn from the experience and improve your CV and cover letter tailoring skills.

A great source of job adverts are local ‘jobs boards’, and for Suffolk, a popular resource is

Essential – create an effective government workforce skill set

It is generally accepted that government employees who have solid people skills or actively develop people skills are usually happiest in their jobs. Ask yourself ‘how do people typically obtain promotion and develop their careers at local government?’ Simple answer, by demonstrating they care about the impact their actions have on others. Government jobs are very desirable, and Governments adopt formal recruitment policies and procedures. Without the required matching skill set, Government job offers are almost impossible. As you look to develop your skill sets through a range of training programmes, it is equally important to take inventory of your people skills. You will likely be working with people at all levels during various assignments. It is never too early to start developing and practising your people skills.

Open minded

Governments recruit from all corners of the country and society, as is evident in Therefore, you are likely to interact with people who come from a significant range of cultures, views and opinions. Approaching others regardless of your rank and or experience with an open mind demonstrates a tolerant, constructive and respectful attitude.

 A listener

To communicate to others our education, knowledge or opinions, it is easy to keep talking and forget that others need their chance to speak. Civil servants are supposed to be serving others before themselves and therefore it is important to practice speaking less and listening more, to ensure that others may feel valued. It is possible to learn ‘active listening’ with practice, and this approach can includes asking meaningful questions, making eye contact, providing constructive feedback, and avoid multi-tasking or becoming distracted.

Stress management

Dealing with people all the time can be difficult and strenuous, especially when working for local government authorities with formal and multiple departments. To relax and help you prepare for the challenges of the following day, consider engaging in activities such as yoga and regulated breathing to unwind. Try a couple of these stress relieving methods to uncover the discipline which one suits your work/life balance.

The art of negotiation

Negotiating is an important life skill, which can not only help you to save money at the grocery store, but it can also be beneficial in your job. Good negotiators not only manage to prevent and solve conflict among people, but also obtain improved terms for Government departments. Effective negotiation skills develop with practice. Over time most people can learn to negotiate effectively, don’t be scared, and keep practicing.

Be Courteous

People generally respond positively to respect and even if you think others do not deserve respect. You lose nothing and can only gain by being courteous. A work environment with mutual respect is generally harmonious, peaceful and productive. Unfortunately, not everyone is naturally respectful, but start small by saying thank you or sorry. With time courteous gestures will become a second nature. As a result your communication skills, value to the organization and promotion opportunities will significantly improve.